Each week, Scottsbluff Police Cpl. Krisa Brass will answer questions submitted by Star-Herald readers.
Send questions for consideration to email@example.com or by leaving your question at 308-632-9057.
Last week I was traveling in the early morning on a highway and the weather was really foggy, so foggy that I had to drive 35mph in a 65mph zone. Is that safe? I mean I felt safe driving at that speed because I could only see like 30 feet in front of me, but if someone's going 65mph behind me, that could become an accident. Should I turn on my hazards when driving that slow? I eventually did. Is it best to pull over to the side of the road and wait an hour? How do I check to see what roads are foggy or not?
We certainly have experienced quite a few foggy mornings in the Panhandle recently! I can understand why you slowed down and eventually turned your hazard lights on given the circumstance.
While I understand why you took the action you did, Nebraska state statute actually prohibits it. Nebraska statute 60-6,230 specifically states “no person shall operate any motor vehicle on any highway in this state with any rotating or flashing light.” There are a few exceptions but none apply to weather related situations.
If visibility is incredibly low, travel should be avoided if possible. If you must travel, just be as cautious and prudent as possible. The above mentioned decreasing the speed is reasonable.
In regards to pulling over and waiting it out, it really depends on the circumstance. If you cannot safely proceed, then you really don’t have much option but should certainly turn your hazards on to heed warning to other vehicles on the roadway.
As for checking weather conditions prior to traveling, many options are available and range from the Weather Channel, to mobile applications on your cell phone, or calling 511.
On the Interstate, the signs say, "move over or slow down" for an emergency vehicle on the shoulder. I understand it means to shift lanes if possible. But if that's not possible because of traffic, can you define "Slow down?" What if I'm driving in town, is there the same requirement to move over?
As for the Interstate scenario, moving as far to the right as possible would be ideal. Realistically you are trying to make enough room for the emergency vehicles to get through the traffic. Emergency vehicles will almost always pass vehicles on the left. “Slow down” is not defined by statute but again we return to what is reasonable and safe.
The requirement of yielding to emergency vehicles is still the same in town. Nebraska statute 60-6,151 states, “The driver of any other vehicle shall yield the right-of-way and shall immediately drive to a position parallel to and as close as possible to the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway or to either edge or curb of a one-way roadway, clear of any intersection, and shall stop and remain in such position until such emergency vehicle passes unless otherwise directed by any peace officer.”